Posts in Editing
How Writers Can Improve Their Work With Grammarly

From the copy on your author website to the emails you send your readership and the marketing ads and campaigns you create — to thrive in your writing career, you must present your work to the world with professionalism.

One of my favorite tools for achieving professionalism is Grammarly. After crafting and revising content, Grammarly reveals key insights and inaccuracies that help me polish my work before I present it to the world. And making use of this AI-powered text editor is a joy thanks to its easy-to-use interface and various available formats, including:

  • Online text editor (at Grammarly.com)

  • Native apps for Mac & Windows

  • Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge

  • Keyboards for iOS and Android

  • An add-in for Microsoft Office

This means you can use Grammarly on nearly any device and with nearly any piece of content you’d like to polish, from tweets and Facebook messages to blog posts, back cover blurbs, agent query letters, and beyond. 

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How Writers Can Prepare For a Fantastic Beta Reader Experience

A little beta reader feedback can go a long way toward improving the quality of your work. 

In last week’s article, I answered six common questions about working with beta readers, including what beta readers are, why their feedback is invaluable, and how you can find the beta readers who will provide the most constructive feedback on your work. Today, I’m following that introduction with a guide to creating the very best beta experience for both you and your readers.

Remember, beta readers are providing you with a free service, taking the time to read your manuscript and share feedback on how you can improve it before you publish. That’s a lot of work! It’s your job to make that work as enjoyable as possible for your beta readers. And when you do, you may just find that you set yourself up for a fantastic beta reader experience as well.

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The New Writer's Guide to Working With Beta Readers


Nothing improves the quality of your writing like a little objective feedback.

Sure, a few well-honed self-editing skills can go a long way toward helping you craft incredible stories. But at the end of the day, you’re simply too close to your work to truly revise and refine it to be the best that it can be. This is where a second pair of eyes (or many seconds) can come in handy, specifically in the form of beta readers.

I recently worked with beta readers for the first time to seek feedback on my upcoming book Build Your Best Writing Life, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m now excited to share what I learned from that experience in a new two-part series here on the blog, beginning with today’s post answering the most common questions about working with beta readers:

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Eight Things to Cut or Reconsider When Editing Fiction

I often say the magic of writing happens in revision. 

When you revise, you transform a lumpy first draft into a powerful and cohesive story, cutting filler, strengthening the narrative, and shoring up your story’s foundations. As you edit, that same magic manifests in your prose, helping you transform weak and clumsy writing into an irresistible read.

In last week’s article, I shared an overview of how you can strengthen your prose at every step in the writing process, from drafting to revising and editing. Today, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty. As you work to tighten your prose during edits, here are eight things in your manuscript to cut or reconsider…

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How Fiction Writers Can Improve The Quality of Their Prose

Most fiction writers come to the page with a passion for either language or storytelling.

My own strengths lie in the latter. I love mapping plots arcs, developing characters, and crafting fictional worlds. Yet for me, translating those story elements onto the page has always felt like pulling teeth. I simply don’t have a natural knack for prose, which is why I’ve spent the past several years working hard to improve the quality of my writing.

If you’d like to do the same, today’s article is for you. In this mega-guide, I’m sharing each specific element of prose you should consider at every step in the writing process, breaking down the overwhelm of learning to write wonderfully readable prose so you can work to level up your writing skills with confidence. Shall we begin?

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Five Tips & Four Myths About Preparing To Edit Fiction

Editing a short story or novel is its own craft, using a separate skill set from writing. It’s a different approach and needs a different mindset. This isn’t to say that editing can’t be creative; it’s creating solutions to problems. Through editing, you’ll identify problems in your story and figure out the best solutions.

As you make the mental shift from writing to editing, you have to be able to look at your own work with a level of objectiveness in order to make your story the best it can be. In this post, I’d like to offer suggestions to help you gain perspective on your manuscript.

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How to Identify and Cut Your Story's Filler


Have you ever read a novel that was far too indulgent for its own good?

Perhaps the plot dragged on and on or the prose meandered or the author spent a highly unnecessary amount of time on world-building or the color of their characters' hair. Maybe you weren't exactly sure where the author went wrong, but you know the book could have been at least fifty pages shorter. 

A touch of fluff bears little consequence, of course, but too much filler can easily weigh a story down. Knowing how onerous such indulgent stories can be, it's time we took a look at our own manuscripts and the fluff that may be lurking within. How can you identify and cut your story's filler? Let's discuss today, writers!

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How to Find and Fix Your Story's Plot Holes

When spending so much time working on our stories, it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees.

This is a phenomenon we discussed in our recent article on the importance of gaining objectivity as we edit. When we're in the thick of revising our stories, we may find ourselves so focused on all the little details that we want to improve that we fail to see some of our stories' biggest weaknesses. And the biggest of all, perhaps, are plot holes. 

What are plot holes exactly? And how can you find and fix them throughout your manuscript? Let's break down everything you need to know today, writer!

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How to Improve Your Self-Editing in One Simple Step

Struggling to feel confident in your self-editing skills? You're not alone, writer.

Both big picture revisions and tedious line-edits demand that writers consider countless facets of their work, from plot and character arcs to settings, themes, character development, and world-building, then on to dialogue, diction, sentence structure, tone, voice, atmosphere, and beyond. It's no wonder so many writers approach self-editing with extreme trepidation.

And while there are many techniques that can help writers approach revisions and line-edits with confidence, there is one especially powerful trick that I want to break down with you today: maintaining an objective eye. What is objectivity exactly, and how can it help improve your self-editing skills? Let's dive in! 

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Seven Things Editors Wish Authors Knew

As an editor, I have encountered countless authors, and they usually have the same questions or concerns. I have compiled a list of seven things editors wish authors knew, so your process of working with an editor is as smooth as possible.

 

1. Book Us in Advance

Writers frequently ask me when they should book me, and I always tell them as soon as possible. Editors tend to get booked out weeks, if not months, in advance, and you want to ensure that you are on your ideal editor’s schedule at the right time.

Also, if you have a deadline with your editor before you even write your novel, you will be motivated to finish it. There is nothing like external motivation to make sure you get your book done.

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How to Build an Ideal Critique Partner Relationship

Life is better when you do it together — and your writing life often is, as well.

In a recent article here at Well-Storied, we discussed the importance of editing with objectivity. But sometimes, even the most objective lens we can conjure just isn't enough to help us craft the very best versions of our books. Sometimes, it's a second pair of eyes that can really make all the difference as we work to elevate our stories.

Of course, that second pair of eyes can come in many forms: alpha or beta readers, editors, and, as we're going to discuss today, critique partners. Just how valuable an experience can it be to work with a critique partner? And how can you go about finding and building such a relationship? Let's break down everything you need to know in today's article!

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8 Things to Cut When You Kill Your Darlings

When discussing revisions, it doesn't take long for the phrase "kill your darlings" to appear.

The phrase has been attributed to many authors over the years, but in every case, its sentiment remains the same: as you edit, you must be willing to remove any element that does not serve your story, even those you love. As I've often said here at Well-Storied, everything in your novel must serve a purpose. 

Think you may be holding onto a few darlings in your own manuscript? Not sure what those elements might be? Let's discuss everything you need to know about killing your darlings today, writers!

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What Is The Difference Between Editing & Revising? (and how can you accomplish both? )

Before we can begin polishing our manuscripts, there's something we need to discuss: the difference between editing and revising.

These two words are often used interchangeably, and that's fine for colloquial conversations. But when it comes to the work itself, these words indicate two unique tasks. Understanding the differences between the two can help you cut through editing overwhelm (see, there's that colloquial usage again!) and make the process of finishing your manuscript far more efficient. 

So, what is the difference between editing and revising? And what exactly is involved in accomplishing both tasks? Let's break these questions down in today's article, writers.

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10 Things to Do Before Editing Your First Draft

So, you've finished the first draft of your novel. Congratulations!

With a completed draft under your belt, it can be tempting to dive straight into edits, revising all of those pesky plot holes and other weaknesses you created along the way. This, however, would likely be a big mistake. Revising is a massive undertaking, requiring plenty of planning and objective thinking.

With that in mind, let's take a look at ten smart steps you can take before launching head first into the overwhelm that is editing a full-length story. How much time and effort you put into each step may vary depending on several factors, but each one is important to consider no matter your writing process. Shall we begin?

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